In the morning we were off to Manizales. It was a beautiful two and a half hour drive through the heart of the coffee growing area of Colombia. The hillsides were rich green and cultivated from valley floor to the top of the hills. The vegetation is like paradise.
President Rendon met us on the outskirts of town to help us find our way to the chapel. President Prince had interviews until 1pm. He presides over these districts and is the one who has to issue temple recommends to first time temple goers as well as interviewing a lot of prospective missionaries. He delights in the opportunity to meet with these humble people.
Meanwhile, Elders Crompton and Diaz met Marcie and I at the chapel and we headed out onto the streets of Manizales to visit the apartments of the Elders there. I think the advance warning helped as all apartments were in great shape. One apartment is quite a cave and we will start looking for a replacement as it is dreary and dark. We had the time to visit the town square and take pictures in front of the cathedral. Manizales is built on many hillsides. I´m not sure which was the greatest adventure -driving the narrow, steep roads OR walking them . But I do know which was the best exercise!
why yes! I did drive on these streets!
We left Manizales and drove to Tulua where Jon was to preside over the Tulua District Conference. We again were met on the outskirts of town and guided into the chapel...just in time for priesthood session to start. Two of the priesthood brethren guided us to the Hotel Principe (very appropriate for the Prince family) where Marcie and I checked in and then took a nap. They returned for us in time for the Saturday evening adult session. We had a good time with the members. President Garcia is a wonderful leader and gave a great talk. Jon and I sang and then Jon spoke. He did a great job.
Sunday morning we arrived at the chapel at 9am. Jon had a meeting and Marcie and I had fun trying to converse with the members who arrived for the conference. The language of music is universal and Marcie wows everyone on the piano. They asked her to play prelude this morning. We have been welcomed with open arms, abrazos, and kisses on the cheeks. People love to practice their English with us...and we don´t mind helping! Jon and I both spoke in this session of conference. Someday I will know enough Spanish to adapt on the fly...until then, I just read what is translated on the page in front of me!
We were invited to lunch at the home of President Rafael Jimenez and his wife Diana. The lunches here are BIG and we are introduced to a variety of new food each day. We had fun reuniting with Liborio Jimenez and his wife. (Rafael´s parents) They had visited our home in Utah many years ago. We arrived home tired, but had such a wonderful experience visiting with these wonderful members of the church. The church is in the hands of strong capable leaders here in Colombia. They are working hard to strengthen the members and help their districts become stakes. They have lofty goals and I know Heavenly Father will bless them.